Graduations are wonderful. The best ones, however, are in prison, watching youth fill with intense pride and determination, grasping a diploma that was well out of their reach, until their lives turned around, until they felt a sense of hope and possibility in their lonely, desperate lives.
Today, they succeeded, they grew, they came into their own. Their valedictorian gave the best graduation speech any of us had ever heard, bringing us to tears, and cheers, earning a standing ovation from all.
“When the doors of this prison locked behind us, other doors opened ahead of us,” was his opening line.
Later, he told me he was half way towards achieving his associates degree, and dreams of earning an MBA. I have no doubt he will accomplish all of that, and more.
Another young man played a captivating song, exhibiting great talent on the guitar, and with his voice. The principal remarked that he had never played publicly before. It was another moment of amazement and celebration.
I watched sixteen young men celebrate their amazing achievement, and move ahead, seizing opportunity, changing their lives, and making a better world for all of us.
Congratulations, Trask River High School Class of 2013!